Friday, January 31, 2014

Gnome update: I published a book!

And it's available now on CreateSpace!

Here are a few previews: 

"Gnomes have a particularly
long history of friendship
with members of the avian kingdom."

"...If you happen to meet a gnome who can carry a tune, 
rest assured that what you are witnessing is the result 
of countless hours of dedicated study."
The process of creating this book was a great experience for me.  I learned a lot, and found out just how easy self-publishing can be!  Most importantly: I realized that there's nothing stopping me from putting out into the world anything my heart can dream up.  It's a pretty powerful revelation.

It's really amazing to think that a few weeks ago, none of this existed at all.  And that the whole journey began with a little spark of inspiration and few ounces of leftover clay I dug out of the closet.

Thanks to everyone who has cheered me on in my creative adventures.

Your support and kind words are more valuable than you may know :)

Like I said, the book is available now on CreateSpace, and should be up on Amazon in about a week. 

So check it out!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day!

It's been coming down steadily all day.  Thankfully I've been able to appreciate the snow storm from behind my studio window.  I've been busy photographing and editing and brainstorming since breakfast - and man, does it feel good!

I built a makeshift lightbox the other day for photographing my ceramic figurines, and am pleased to report that it's really getting the job done.  It wasn't hard to make at all - all it took was a blade, an empty cracker box, a few pieces of printer paper and some tape.

As you may have guessed, that's one of the gnomes in there.  His name is Jonas.  He's from Sweden, and is a voracious reader.

I know I said just the other day that I would be putting these little fellows up for sale on my Etsy shop soon, but I've since been inspired to undertake a new project involving the gnomes - which is still super secret, but I will say that I'm VERY excited about it!

I'll be sure to update again soon.  Until then, I'm going to crawl back under the electric blanket.  Brr!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fun With Ceramics and New Shop Items!

I've had such an exciting weekend!

Saturday was a red-letter day for two reasons: First, because I got to read to a bunch of cute kiddies during storytime at the local children's museum.  And second, because the clay figurines I'd made a few weeks earlier had finally emerged from their final firing in the kiln!

The idea originated after I sculpted a few gnome friends out of polymer clay.  Evan had just repotted some of the plants my dad had given him back in August, and I thought it might be nice to have a groundskeeper around to keep an eye on things.

But of course I couldn't stop at just one...

So then came the traveling gnome.

The polymer clay was very easy to work with, and it afforded some great texture and detail.  But the pieces felt too fragile, and the acrylic paint and finish just not fit to withstand life in moist dirt, let alone on the road.

What I really hoped for was a gnome better suited for a life of adventure.  Durable enough to tag along in a pocket, and with a waterproof glaze that could tolerate the elements.

Thankfully, the nice lady at the paint-your-own pottery shop in downtown Winchester was kind enough to indulge my gnome fantasies by selling me a pound of clay and tediously loading and firing all of my tiny creations (twice!).

I now have eight, one-of-a-kind ceramic gnomes, ready to venture out and see the world!

There are, however, a few minor details to which we must tend before I can send them on their merry ways (personal identification cards, travel documents etc.) ...But I'm hoping they'll be ready for their Etsy debut by the end of the week!

In the meantime, you can take a look at these other ceramic friends I made.  They are available now at my Etsy Shop!

Here's Bonnie Bluebird.

And this is Sprinkles.

 And here's a tiny house.  Just because :-)

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check back soon for more gnome updates!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Linocuts

The past few weeks have felt so stressful.  

It's been 3 months since I packed my things and flew across the country to make a new home in Virginia.  I'm really in love with where I live, and feel so grateful to be here.  But it's definitely proving to be an adjustment.

My life has undergone so many dramatic changes over the past few years, I think it's easy for me to underestimate sometimes just how challenging these big transitions can be.  

So when the adrenaline from the move has worn off and I still find myself struggling to find work, make friends, get my life together! - I sort of freak out and get down on myself for not being more adaptable, self-sufficient, completely perfect and awesome in every way...

It's good to pause and take a step back to notice these things.  Especially since my tendency to expect super-human performance from myself can really hinder the creative process!

Last night I was able to let go for a few hours and just surrender to the flow of creation.

 I love carving block prints.  It's such a meditative process.

These cards and more are available for purchase at my Etsy shop!

Drop by sometime and take a gander :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The little things

 I found a pink-petaled mug covered in Siamese kitties at the hospice thrift shop down the street.

It might be my new favorite thing.

Or at least its' currently tied for first with homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups. 

The cold snap hasn't been good for much, but it's certainly made hanging around indoors easy.

I've been working on some doodle illustrations for a fun new project.

Here's a little sneak peek:

Last night I sat drawing at the kitchen table for hours, wrapped up in an electric blanket.

So I guess winter isn't so bad :)

And in case you're eager to give them a try...

Here's my (highly unscientific) "recipe" for peanut butter cups:

- Unsweetened Baker's Chocolate
- Coconut Oil
- Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Salt
- Peanut Butter
- Paper cupcake cups

1. Chop/shave chocolate and place in small sauce pan

2. Add about 1 tablespoon of Coconut oil for every ounce of chocolate.

3. Add about 1.5 tablespoon of sugar per ounce of chocolate. (All I had in my cupboard was sugar in the raw, so I ground it very fine using a mortal and pestle.  Store bought powdered sugar would probably also work, but I can't recommend a dosage so you'd have to just add to taste).

4. Add a pinch of salt.

5. Place pot over low heat and stir until all ingredients have melted.

6. Remove from heat and stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

7. Pour a thin layer of melted chocolate into cupcake cups (it may help to place cups in a cupcake pan if you have one, but I didn't and I managed just fine).

8. Add a dollop of peanut butter to each cup

9. Cover peanut butter with remaining chocolate, and place cups in freezer to cool.